I’m officially adding a new category as of today: TRIATHLON. In one year, I am going to be competing in a 1/2 Ironman (Ironwoman?). This is a race that, to my basic understanding, tests your mental fortitude as much as your physical strength. It includes a 1.2 mile lake swim, a 56 mile bike and then a 13 mile run. (To think that people do twice this much is amazing to me.) It is going to take 12 months of obsessive training to get me to the finish line.
Training began last week. While I’ve been swimming and running a fair bit, I haven’t been cycling. Friday, I purchased a road bike — which cost no less than my first car, mind you — along with all the gear. Helmet, tire tool kit, front and rear lights, water bottles and holders, tire pump, padded shorts, new sunglasses (because you’ve got to accessorize baby!), etc. I threatened to buy the streamers, but alas, money was already flying out of my wallet so fast, I thought I should put on the brakes a bit.
Saturday was my first ride. I woke early, got on the road by 6 am and realized quickly the road I had selected had no bike lane. With the sun just coming up, there were few cars on the road and no pedestrian traffic. I thought it would be okay to cruise along this street for a bit until I found a good turn off and could head south for a couple of miles before looping back home. The idea was to test Ruby, the bike, out for an hour and see how badly my rear end hurt the next day. I have a tendency to over do things, and knew I’d better be careful or I’d be limping for the rest of the week.
Ruby and I cruised along the road and I started feeling a bit confident. Her 30 gears were no longer intimidating. My feet in the cages weren’t so scary. Even the helmet strap around my throat wasn’t bothering me too much. Everything was going swimmingly until I got stuck behind a city bus. It kept stopping and I kept waiting behind it, unwilling to go on the sidewalk and too scared to pass in the next lane of traffic. Finally, after a couple of miles, I became exasperated and decided indeed to pass the bus on the sidewalk.
Ruby and I were flying past the bus when it came to stop. Just as I went to pass, a man stepped off the bus directly in to my path. I didn’t just mow him down, I may have rendered him infertile.
My handlebars went into his crotch.
His coffee flew in the air and went all over me.
I couldn’t get my feet out of those cages fast enough, so the bike tilted toward the bus and I slid with it. By the time I gathered myself and my balance, I was dripping in Irish cr√®me and apologizing to a man’s groin. Then, beet red with embarrassment, I looked up after realizing perhaps my “I’m sorrys” should be directed toward his eyes and not his genitalia — from which I had just pried my bike. He too was quite shocked, embarrassed and worried he’d burned me with his coffee. We were both fine, thankfully, and we quickly said our goodbyes. Me cycling one way, him limping the other.
It wasn’t until I got about a mile away that the humor of the situation caught up with me. Then I got the giggles and simply couldn’t stop laughing. Every time I caught my breath, I caught a whiff of his coffee — all over my shirt and bike — and started the hysterical laughter again.
Oh, what a show we put on for those on the bus. And what a great first ride!